Disclaimer: Of course I don't own Anastasia! Do I look like Don Bluth to you? (I DO own Lydia and Rosaline, though. You'll see more of them. No stealy.)



The train had stopped moving. That was it. That, or it was going so slowly that the trees had stopped moving by and a particularly ambitious rabbit could have beaten them.

Dimitri banged his head against the window for what had to have been the five-hundredth time. The train was moving, but its constant stopping and starting made Dimitri wonder if the conductor hadn't had a few.

Speak of the devil, the old conductor waddled his way to the front of the car. "Uh...beg your pardon, ladies and gentlemen, but we're experiencing some slight difficulty at the moment...."

Dimitri tuned the old codger out, turning back to the window. He'd gotten the jist in three seconds; what did he need the details for? In short, the train would have to be delayed. Passengers would be put up at the depot, where they were "welcome to" catch the next train the following day. And Dimitri would be a day late to Paris. He was screwed.

He checked his watch for the millionth time, as if it had some sort of useful power to it. No such intervention. He sighed. Anya was going to kill him. No, she wasn't going to kill him--she was way too forgiving to kill him. But she should kill him.

It was his own idiotic fault--he knew he should have known better than to take off two weeks before her birthday and still expect to be home in time. Now, he was stuck a day outside of France all together, and in three days, his best friend would turn twenty-one without him.

Distantly, Dimitri registered that the old coot was getting around to the verdict. He sat forward and listened in.

"So, as it turns out, our line may not be running for up to a week...of course, all expenses and compensations will be complimentarily repaid in full. Thank you for your patience."


A ticket attendant came toward Dimitri's aisle, and Dimitri jumped out of his seat. "What? A week?"

"I'm sorry sir, conductor's orders..."

"Cond...orders? No! I can't be another week. I have to get home! Can't you--"

"Sir, I'm afraid there's nothing we can do," the attendant interrupted. "Now, please sit down before you cause a scene."

Dimitri didn't intend to sit at all. "I need to get off this train. Please, just--"

The attendant blocked Dimitri's path. "Sir! You will be forcibly removed from this train and placed under authoritative supervision if you continue to cause a disturbance. Is that understood?"

Dimitri sighed impatiently and dropped to his seat. That was the last thing he needed--getting arrested. How would that look in the Romanov ledger? And what was he supposed to say to that? No? It's Anastasia's birthday and we're not together? Oh, by the way, I'm her husband? I'm an idiot and I miss her? Wait, why am I being arrested? Uh-huh. Please. He'd have better luck pulling this train home himself.

The forty-ish guy sitting next to him looked up from his newspaper. "If you don't mind my asking, what's so urgent, anyway?" he inquired.

Dimitri reduced the truth, simplified it, and gave it to the guy in the plainest, most understatedly believable way possible. "It's my wife's birthday," he said.